LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - For the first time in program history Siena Lacrosse can boast a win over a top-10 team. Conor Prunty scored the game-winning goal with 50.6 seconds remaining as Siena upset crosstown rival 10th ranked UAlbany 10-9. The win marks the program's second all-time against a USILA Coaches' Poll Top-20 team.
"We've been working hard throughout the year and today it paid off," said head coach John Svec. "This (win) gives us a lot of confidence. We know we can play with anyone. We've felt that way for awhile and this solidifies it."
Siena (6-8), which had lost 15 of the previous 16 meetings in the battle for Capital Region bragging rights, earns its first home win over UAlbany (10-4) since 1988. Despite UAlbany's winning ways, the last five meetings have now been decided by two goals or less and today was another classic.
Just a sophomore, Prunty came through huge again in the clutch. He scored four goals, matching his career-high he set in the season opener at another top-10 team in fourth ranked Johns Hopkins.
After UAlbany's Derrick Eccles put the Great Danes back on top with 5:08 remaining, Prunty went to work. He tied the game with 3:10 left and following a late timeout came through with one of the biggest goals in program history. Prunty raced down the left side and fired a shot just over the right ear of UAlbany goalie Blaze Riorden and just under the crossbar.
"We had a play set to run but we had to improvise it," noted Prunty. "I was able to take a little angle and bury it."
The Great Danes got a final chance to tie it, but Ryan Feuerstein's 15-yard blast was stopped by Matt Sharp as time expired, sending Siena Turf Field into a frenzy. Sharp was tremendous in goal, making 14 saves.
Playing its third top-10 opponent this season, Siena fell behind early 3-0. But the Saints answered back with the next four goals and ultimately took a 5-4 lead at the half. Both teams jockeyed for positioning in the second half with neither side getting a lead of more than two goals.
Siena's defense was tremendous in shutting down the nation's top scoring team. The Saints limited UAlbany to seven goals under their season average and held the nation's fourth leading goal scorer Ty Thompson scoreless. The reigning America East Player of the Week, Thompson, who scored eight goals in Friday's win over UMBC, saw his 25-game goal scoring streak snapped.
Thompson's cousins Lyle, who leads the nation in scoring, and Miles, who is UAlbany's third leading scorer, did not play. Feuerstein led UAlbany with three points, while Tim Cox added two goals for the Great Danes which saw its six-game winning streak snapped.
Richie Hurley added four points for the Saints and Colin Clive had three as the Saints improved to 2-13 all-time vs. USILA Top-20 teams, having previously defeated 18th ranked Loyola 5-4 in Baltimore on Mar. 18, 2008. Danny Martinsen tallied three points, in the process moving into sixth place on the program's all-time scoring list with 161 career points.
UAlbany had entered the day ranked 10th in both this week's USILA Coaches' and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls. The Great Danes have an NCAA-best seven true road wins and earlier this season were just the second team in NCAA history to earn wins at both Syracuse and Johns Hopkins in the same season.
Siena looks to build upon their historic win when they host VMI in the regular season finale Saturday at noon. The Saints will be celebrating Senior Day and Alumni Appreciation Day and the game will be broadcast throughout New York on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.